Heard on the Hill

A Commitment-Phobe Commits to Not Committing

Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist hasn't gotten an Indiana Congressional candidate to sign onto the group's pledge. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Dr. John McGoff is a Republican running for Congress in Indiana and nobody bothers him!

In a press release today, McGoff said that he "reaffirmed his vow to not sign any pledges committing himself to any political activist agenda."

“After harassing phone calls by Americans for Tax Reform this week,” McGoff said in a statement, “I have reaffirmed my vow to slam the revolving door shut on Washington politics by refusing, once again, to sign any pledges.”

“Pledges such as Mr. [Grover] Norquist’s are exceptionally presumptive," the doctor continued. "Why would I sign any commitments before the 5th District has chosen me as their next Congressman? I will not commit myself to the Washington beltway because I am committed to voters in Indiana’s 5th.”

And with that McGoff took direct aim at Americans for Tax Reform and the group's president, Grover Norquist.

"We had an intern call," Norquist told HOH.

The group called to make sure that McGoff received the pledge and then ATR called again just before it was going to put up a list of the newest no-tax-pledgers.

"We wanted to make sure it was an accurate list," Norquist explains. "We didn't harass the poor guy."

By not signing the pledge, Norquist says McGoff is publicly declaring himself a “maybe” on taxes. Anyway, Norquist says he doesn't want McGoff to sign if he has issues with commitment.

McGoff for his part says he's against raising taxes, but he just doesn't want to be strong-armed into taking a pledge.

“I am firmly committed to cutting taxes and advocating a strong climate for economic growth,” he said. “Unlike my opponents, I simply do not need the blessings of the Washington Beltway to help me keep my commitments."

"[T]he pledge as you know is a pledge to the voters of his district," Norquist said. "It’s not a commitment to us."

According to Norquist, there is a plus side for McGoff's not taking the pledge: Every lobbyist in town will come to see him.

For someone new to the swamp, he continued, it is the fastest way to make friends.